D&D 4E: Crouching Halfling, Hidden Kobold

Wenner Takes a Short Cut

Our time in Winterhaven passed all too quickly. Soon the innkeeper, the Lord Warden and most of the random townsfolk were all too ready to see us go. We’d come for a night and stayed for a fortnight. Even the street sweepers began wondering loudly and openly beneath our windows if there wasn’t some adventuring to be done. Somewhere. Else.

Bryn is a mean drunk. It has to be said.

I went to the local pan-denominational temple and got some vials of holy water in case the rumors of vampires, ghosts, demons, ghouls and so on were more than the wild stories they seemed to be. Can’t get enough of the holy water.

The road to the ruined keep was wide and well-maintained. We could easily see anyone approaching or following. We were well-rested, close enough to support each other in case of an ambush but far enough apart so that, if needed, we could unleash our most potent attacks. We were absolutely ready for anything we might meet upon the road.

That’s when the halfling took off.

I guess he saw a squirrel? Or something? He just went running merrily into the trees.

Seconds later we heard him scream. Followed by the startled barking of a pair of kobold dragonshields — heavily armored little knee lizards.

Really sucked to be Wenner.

There was some discussion about just leaving him. But we sighed a collective sigh and headed into the fray.

My Longsword of Life Drinking hummed warmly in my hand as I charged at the closest of the kobolds. I just now remembered that I forgot to use my sword’s lifedrinking abilities last night — but I did (this time) remember to use my Feats.

While Wenner, Sheeoil and I were engaging the dragonshields, Bryn was meeting up with his own challenges… another dragonshield, a powerful kobold wyrmpriest and a kobold slinger. Bryn was so startled that he missed a spell, and then went down to the ambush.

The wyrmpriest tried, futilely, to ignite the elf as Wenner’s dragonshields met their doom. My Armor of Bahamut feat turned a critical hit into a normal hit, and my Martyr’s Blessing daily let me take a hit for Wenner. Meanwhile, Wenner was using his Sly Flourishes to keep the kobolds unbalanced, and Sheeoil was using healing attacks to do damage while giving needy folks temporary hit points.

Someone had to deal with the dragonshield standing over Bryn’s bleeding body and patch him up before he died, and someone was going to have to deal with the slinger and the wyrmpriest so they wouldn’t immediately put Bryn down again.

Sheeoil took Bryn’s dragonshield down with elan and got the wizard back on his feet while I charged the wyrmpriest. He tried to run. But running just means you die tired. Bryn’s magic missile hit him in the back as he tried to flee.

The remaining kobold, the slinger, yelled something about getting help and took off into the trees to the north.

We all used healing surges to get back to something resembling health. Bryn stayed back a moment to kick a dead kobold before joining us as we all pursued the kobold into the trees.

This started a Skill Challenge. We would have to succeed at Nature and Perception rolls more than we failed in order to successfully track the kobold. After some false starts and vague clues, we eventually heard some kobold barking beyond a tree line, above the roar of a waterfall crashing into the rapids beneath. The towering menhirs of a stone circle could just barely be seen through the trees.

I think we’ve found our kobold lair.

D&D 4E: Footprints in the sand

Kobold ambush

A dragonborn and a halfling were walking together along a worn and aged road. “Tipa,” said the halfling, “our footprints are mingled with signs of dozens of kobolds. Yet where the kobolds are thickest, I only see one set of footprints. Where were you then?” “Dearest Wenner,” replied the dragonborn. “Those were the times I picked you up and threw you.”

The Adventure Company, having spent a couple weeks resting and training after the adventure in the kobold tower, gathered on the outskirts of Fallcrest. Our destination: the town of Winterhaven, site of some newly-discovered ruins.

Sheeoil looked glum as the rest of us demonstrated the results of our training; he was the only one of us who hadn’t leveled. I was feeling a little glum myself, as I’d had to donate half my earnings to the local temple of Bahamut, but all to the greater glory of good dragonkind, right?

We made good time along the worn, once-cobbled road to Winterhaven. Suddenly the map switched to a small segment of road and we started moving turn by turn. The road ahead seemed empty, but something told us there might be an ambush ahead. Like when we’d seen this map for the first time our very first night of play, and the GM had accidentally showed the ambush up ahead.

Nobody was more surprised to see the kobold minion ahead of us than the kobold minion itself. Wenner killed it so casually that he even forgot to equip a weapon first. More kobolds and still more revealed themselves as the AdvCo machine whirred smoothly into action.

So imposing were we that one poor kobold missed its attack so poorly that it actually killed itself.

Bryn finally got his sleep spell off, incapacitating one kobold and slowing another. He and Wenner took care of the kobolds on the south side of the road while Sheeoil and I took the ones to the north. I gutted a kobold slinger before he could hurl his deadly fire bombs at Sheeoil. We know just how flammable your common elf can be.

When all was said and done, Sheeoil was just two xp from leveling.

The rest of the trip to Winterhaven passed uneventfully.

The inn in Winterhaven was criminally unprepared for a party of adventurers fresh off the trail. They had no hot sand baths prepared. None! A bellow, a roar and a decent tip fixed that. The locals knew little about any kobold lair in the area. A doe eyed elf hunter denied any knowledge of such and refused to help us find same. All anyone wanted to talk about was the mysterious, abandoned keep to the northwest. The one filled with vampires and ghosts.

Yeah. That sounds inviting.

The Lord Warden of Winterhaven — near twin to the Lord Warden of Fallcrest — met us at the inn and told us that he had been informed by his counterpart of our coming. He promised any aid he could spare, as long as that aid wasn’t monetary, personnel or material in nature. But all his good thoughts were definitely at our complete disposal.

Experience gained: 118 xp for each of us. Sheeoil found an additional 2 xp beneath the thin mattress of his bed. The DING! rung throughout Winterhaven. No loot to speak of.

Next week: The Keep, where ghosts and vampires drain our levels back to 1.

D&D4E: Ding!

Of scales and slime pits...

After last week's epic battle against an Indiana Jones-style boulder trap and various drakes and kobold lords, what could possibly await us in the cavern below the tower ruins, from whence came the acrid stink of dragonbreath and fear?

Could it be……?

We sent Wenner, the halfling thief, to check it out. He crept around turn after turn, beckoning the rest of us after him. We cautiously followed. At the entrance to a room we could not see the end of, Wenner went bouncing through like a maniac, alerting everything inside to our presence.

Frickin' dice rolls.

A whispery voice asked, "Is that you, ?"

Bryn cast a light spell that lit the darkness. From it strode a dragonborn, clad in scale armor and looking awfully familiar. "Ralph? Big brother? Is that you?"

"…. TIPA?" he roared.

Actually, no. We didn't know each other. But we all look alike, right?

I tried reasoning with him while readying my halberd. "We killed all your friends –"

"Except the one you healed!" snickered Wenner.

"Well, yes, except that one. Nonetheless, I've no desire to slay a countryman, even one who follows Tiamat's lies. Leave us your armor, weapons, loot and experience points, and you can keep your life."

"Riiiiiiight," said Ralph, as Sheeoil socked him with a spell and Wenner made the air deadly with shuriken. Ralph pulled out his long sword, leaped over the slime pit, and stabbed me.

I choked him with acid and swung at him with the halberd. We all burned action points to keep Ralph off balance; Sheeoil and Wenner got him back in the slime pit and kept him struggling while Bryn sent fiery magic missiles at him.

Then he stood up and killed me. I made a save against death; Sheeoil brought me back to consciousness. I staggered to my feet and poked Ralph with the halberd while death whirred toward the dragonborn from all directions — and that was that, the beast was dead.

Mom is going to be SO PISSED.

I worried myself about the name Ralph called to the darkness. Would we be facing a second enemy from behind? I used my remaining healing surges to bring myself back to health while the others converged on a chest in the corner.

Finally satisfied that there would be no more fighting here, I joined the others in looking for likely loot. Wenner looked sneakily suspicious about something. Why is it we always let the THIEVES open the chests first?

Oddly, Ralph had stored absolutely nothing in that chest. How unusual.

Ding!

Well, except for this bit of dragonhide. And a strangely light sword. And some gold pieces. And 250 experience points.

OMG DING. Level 2!

We returned to town and sought out the liege lord, the one with the glowing question mark hovering over his head. He gave us our reward for the kobold ears Wenner had collected, gave us the name of a merchant who could help reveal to us the secrets behind the orb Wenner had forgotten to tell us about, my sword, and Bryn's dragonhead staff.

There was another task he had for us, one dealing with the arcane art of Cartography and a newly-discovered ruin. A new ruin. Just ruined last week.

But first — to the magic merchant!

My sword — a Longsword +1 Lifedrinker. If I crit, my target gets a 1d6 lingering necrotic effect. If I get the killing blow, I get some temporary hit points. The orb was a focusing orb of some sort, and I forget what the staff did.

Minor increases in power for all except Sheeoil, who will have to wait until next week to ding, as he missed a night's adventuring.

Sorry for no D&D update last week. I was on Benadryl and largely out of it.

D&D 4E: The Skull-Skull Arena

The Skull Skull Arena

There was probably a way to get through this without fighting… but we’re all experts. We’re all MMO vets. See a monster, kill a monster.

Halfling thief Wenner crept down the stairs to another room, furnished with the requisite sarcophagi (and sarcophagals). The coffins and coffers each had small animal skulls piled upon them, and between them, another sludge-filled pit. At the far end of the room, closed, thick wooden doors barred further progress. On either side, 10′ stone platforms stretching to both walls held two kobolds, who passed around a sludge covered boulder that was tied by a rope to the ceiling. They would, tetherball-like, swing the stone out, catch some of the animal skulls on it, and the other would catch it.

Welcome to the exciting world of Skull Skull Arena.

Though we were still battered and bloody from the kobold assault on the floor above, two lone kobolds looked like easy prey. While Wenner scuttled over behind a sarcophaperson, I (Tipa, dragonborn paladin) roared and ran from the stairs, used an action point and charged the rest of the way, then spit acid mist at the nearest kobold.

Did they expect that? No, they didn’t. My target staggered back in fear; the other kobold tried to swing the boulder at me and missed. This was going great!

Four more kobolds appear, one from a midden near me. But hey, kobolds.

Human mage Bryn and elf cleric Sheeoil (SHAY-oy) left cover and headed into the fray. Bryn took out two of the kobolds nearest me with a single spell, which was pretty damn impressive. The other kobold and I traded feints and strikes without either of us hitting until Wenner managed to get a good strike in from behind, settling that score.

Brynn and Sheeoil were dealing with the other kobolds, but things weren’t going quite as well. While Sheeoil was moving into range, one of the kobolds tossed a fire grenade at him, setting him on fire. The smell of roasted elf-flesh immediately lent a festive air to the room; the cleric flailed about and lay dying (and still burning) near the slime pit.

With all the kobolds near me defeated, I ran to Sheeoil, extinguished him and used a Lay on Hands to bring him back from the brink. Sheeoil slowly brought himself back to health while Bryn continued focusing on the remaining kobolds. I ran up to keep them interested in not killing the wizard, but the dice were not with me and I never got a clear shot.

Wenners shurikens brought down the last kobold, and it was time to relax. Except the encounter clock kept ticking. No relaxing.

What WAS behind that door?

Something that hissed… and had claws…

Wenner concealed himself (eventually) above the door while Bryn and Sheeoil positioned themselves on the other side of the slime pit. The IDEA was, I’d open or bash the door and then run and leap over the pit to join Bryn and Sheeoil while the monster got stuck in the slime, and Wenner hit it from behind. Epic win, right?

Bashing the door wasn’t doing much, so I took the rock-on-a-rope and splintered the door with it. Two guard drakes rushed out. One grabbed one of my arms, the other grabbed the other arm, and I went down, unconscious and bleeding to death.

So much for the Michael Bay move.

Sheeoil and Wenner rushed toward the melee while Bryn positioned himself so he could hit both critters. Sheeoil used a prayer to heal Wenner and I while also damaging the drakes; I groaned and opened my eyes. Bryn zapped one, gaining its attention and giving me an attack of opportunity as it slithered toward the mage. I hit, finally!

That was the turning point. A night of bad rolls turned into a night of amazing rolls. The drakes, weakened by a spell, were unsure who to bite first. Wenner and Sheeoil took out drake #1; I rushed to Bryn’s side, using my daily to damage and daze the second drake while Laying Hands on the mage.

The drakes were dead and we weren’t. Wenner crept down past the broken doors and came to a cavernous room filled with the voices of kobolds and something darker. We decided to exit the dungeon and rest for the night. We’d need every trick we could get to take on whatever lay below.

It took awhile for us to agree to rest outside; I think all of us were at least a little worried that if we left, the instance would reset and we’d have to kill all those kobolds again :P